Gary signed for United in July 1991 and was part of the famous Class of ’92 that won the FA Youth Cup in 1992. He then became a first-team regular alongside his teammates from that side, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, his brother Philip and David Beckham.
In his time at Old Trafford, Gary has played 602 games, scoring seven goals. He has won the Champions League, eight Premier League trophies, three FA Cups, two League Cups, the Intercontinental Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. He became United club captain in 2005.
Gary won 85 caps for England between 1995 and 2007, playing in two World Cups (1998 and 2006) and three European Championships (1996, 2000 and 2004).
Neville, who turns 36 this month, made the decision after much consideration. He said:
“I have been a Manchester United fan all my life and fulfilled every dream I’ve ever had. Obviously I am disappointed that my playing days are at an end, however it comes to us all, and it’s knowing when that time is and for me that time is now. I have played in the most incredible football teams, playing with some of the best players in the world as well as against them and I have been lucky to have been part of the team’s achievements and the club’s great success.
“There are so many people I want to thank and, of course, top of that list is Sir Alex. He has given me so many opportunities and countless support over the last 20 years – he is truly one of the greatest managers – and I have to thank him for that.
“There have also been so many great players that I have had the privilege to train and play alongside. The experiences we’ve shared will be with me for the rest of my life. Also, I’d like to thank all the coaches I have played under from youth level right through to now, who have guided me through my playing days. And finally, the fans, who have always shown me unbelievable support. They know how special they are to me and this club.
“I am looking forward to new experiences and the club will always be a part of my life going forward. However, the most important thing now is for the club to continue with the success that is synonymous with Manchester United and I will be supporting them all the way, as a fan.”
Meanwhile, Sir Alex Ferguson said:
“Gary was the best English right back of his generation. He is an example to any young professional; hard-working, loyal and intelligent. As a United fan born and bred, his fantastic career at Old Trafford has cemented his place in the affection of the club’s supporters everywhere.
“His impact on the club in general has been huge; his presence in the dressing room and leadership qualities have been an asset to me as a manager. All the young players who have sought his advice on many matters, particularly on contract issues owe him a great debt.
“As a young boy he had the will and determination to succeed as a footballer and that character remained with him throughout his career. That’s the legacy he leaves every young player at Manchester United.”
Reds chief executive David Gill said:
“Gary has been a great servant to the club and we thank him for his loyalty and his contribution to the tremendous success we have enjoyed in his playing time here. I know from my many dealings with him over the years that he’s always had the club’s best interests at heart. So, while this illustrious chapter in his career has finished, his experience, commitment and energy will ensure he will continue to play a part in the life of the club, whether on the coaching or the commercial side.”
Our best wishes are with Gary – a true servant of Manchester United!